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Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven...


dacapo

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Stairway to Heaven is probably one of the top five most remarkable rock songs ever made, and after the arpeggio it definitely changes. But would the song have ever happened if not for that sound (ostensibly from Taurus) that opens it? That arpeggio just defines the song in my opinion, it makes the contrast from the soft opening to that driving conclusion. And the Led Zep lawyer has argued that the comparison should be sheet music only, no chance for the jury to compare the sounds, probably because the atmosphere around that arpeggio was lifted along with the notes.

 

The bottom line is this. If Led Zep wins it is a huge setback for those who create. While Spirit may not have written StH they made a significant contribution to its creation. While it may not have been overt, they did provide the creative inspiration, along with the specific riff that lead to StH being that mega-hit for Led Zeppelin. Plant and Page are fools to object and allowing this to go to court. All to protect some fragile egos. Pay Spirit and treat them fairly or risk being labeled the douches they are being.

 

 

Spirit was in no position to sue Led Zep. If you want to argue about significant contributions, fine, but then Spirit would need to be sued too. A little research on the internet and youtube will reveal that there is music that predates Taurus that sounds more like Taurus than Taurus sounds like StH. The lawyers and expert witnesses made that point clearly it seems. I'm glad the jury got it right. Led Zep has lifted stuff before but did not lift this one from Taurus.

 

See:

Or:

 

And perhaps the original from the 1600s (Giovanni Battista Granata, at about 30 secs.):

 

So I think the Granata estate should sue the Randy California "Sprit" estate, and all the other estates, and Led Zep...

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The other side of this is should session musicians or singers refund their studio fee if the song doesn't become a hit? They get paid no matter what. Does the engineer and/or producer get royalties?

 

I feel that it only works one way - the artist and/or financial backer takes the risk - the session person doesn't take a financial risk, so why should they get a reward?

 

We only hear of this in relation to hits - not the millions of songs that have never sold.

 

Stairway to Heaven is probably one of the top five most remarkable rock songs ever made, and after the arpeggio it definitely changes. But would the song have ever happened if not for that sound (ostensibly from Taurus) that opens it? That arpeggio just defines the song in my opinion, it makes the contrast from the soft opening to that driving conclusion. And the Led Zep lawyer has argued that the comparison should be sheet music only, no chance for the jury to compare the sounds, probably because the atmosphere around that arpeggio was lifted along with the notes.


It is a variation of The Herbie Flowers Argument. If not for the riff lifted from Spirit/Taurus would StH have been such a hit? It is impossible to say in reality because we don't know what would have been if it were not for what is.
A great deal has been made over credits and royalties over the years. Studios (slang for studio musicians) have long worked solely for scale wages and not credited for their creative inputs, nor paid royalties for their contributions that made what may have been "B" side songs into mega-hits. According to Herbie, he and the lads were often offered either scale OR credit and/or royalties.... but never all three. When he was younger and thought that they had a hit on their hands with both Elton John's Madman and Bowies' Space Oddity he elected for royalties even though struggling with a family. He says he learned his lesson because the record labels, through a process of financial manipulation, would screw the musicians out of these royalties by declaring mega-hits a financial disaster. This is the reason that so many artists form their own labels and publishing companies then sell the distribution rights to record labels. It insures they get paid for their work, both physical and creative.
As for monies going to The Randy Foundation. Several years back Herbie and a few of his studio mates got together and started trying to change the way royalties and credits were distributed/noted. Quite a battle because they freely entered into a contract to perform and were paid for that performance. They did make some headway but nothing really significant although it did change how record labels did business. One of their successes was that the children that performed on Pink Floyd's The Wall were awarded royalties. However that choir was unknown as to who actually made up the roster so instead they convinced Pink Floyd to make a healthy donation to the school/orphanage they were from.
The bottom line is this. If Led Zep wins it is a huge setback for those who create. While Spirit may not have written StH they made a significant contribution to its creation. While it may not have been overt, they did provide the creative inspiration, along with the specific riff that lead to StH being that mega-hit for Led Zeppelin. Plant and Page are fools to object and allowing this to go to court. All to protect some fragile egos. Pay Spirit and treat them fairly or risk being labeled the douches they are being.

 

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Because studios (as in studio musicians) often contribute to the reasons why a hit is a hit yet go unremunerated for those contributions. Again, research The Herbie Flowers Argument. Does Walk On The Wild Side become a hit if Herbie doesn't suggest using a jazz bass and double bass tracks? Does David Essex's Rock On become a hit if not for Herbie's masterful bass line? Chris Spedding was to play the lead on that track. Was sitting in on the session awaiting his turn to lay down the track. Herbie starts fiddling with playing the guitar licks on bass. Spedding was of mixed minds on this. He was disappointed not to make 12 quid for the work but at the same time said that the song was nothing if not for Herbie's interpretation of it.

The scale pay is for the actual playing of the music. No debating that aspect. At the same time the question becomes, do not these musicians deserve compensation for their artistic contributions?

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Well...

 

Anybody want to guess who opened for Led Zeppelin during the year before they wrote Stairway?

 

Anyone?

 

Spirit.

 

Anyone want to guess what Led Zeppelin heard them play every night of that tour?

 

Taurus.

 

They absolutely stole it. Outright. It wasn't such a big deal back then though. People were still playing a lot of folk music, and everyone did that with folk music. So they pretty much did that with all other music then too.

 

 

I think you might have it wrong about who opened for who.

 

Led Zeppelin’s first concert in America was as Spirit’s opening act in 1968, the year in which ‘Taurus’ was released on their self-titled debut. The two bands also appeared together on several festivals in 1969.

 

Read More: Led Zeppelin Sued by Spirit Bassist For 'Stairway To Heaven' | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/led-zeppelin-stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit/?trackback=tsmclip

 

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/led-zeppelin-stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit/

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This seemed to me like descendants' greed in action, pushed by attorneys who saw money.

 

 

I wonder if the jurors had the same question I did--Randy knew about this for decades, never made a claim or filed a lawsuit, meaning (to me) he was just going to let it slide. So why wouldn't his decision, or at least his knowledgeable inaction, be respected?

 

I call it greed. Glad greed lost. Thanks, jury.

 

 

PS: I always liked Taurus better than Stairway, ditto Spirit better than Led Zeppelin. So sentiment wasn't part of my viewpoint, I don't think.

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At some point the guy who cut the tree to get the wood to make the guitar should then get a cut too...and the power company that delivers electricity to the studio. And I'm not really a LedZep fan. I think Heart does Led Zep songs better :)

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A great deal has been made over credits and royalties over the years. Studios (slang for studio musicians) have long worked solely for scale wages and not credited for their creative inputs, nor paid royalties for their contributions that made what may have been "B" side songs into mega-hits.

 

Lots of those session musicians made money... lots of money and some didn't piss it all away...

 

I like that line in the movie The Wreaking Crew form Carol Kaye when asked why she didn't do her own thing or go on the road... "I like the steady work and being home at night... I don't need the fame.. "

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They make union wages. I wouldn't say it is a lot of money. Studios go out on the road with artists who don't have standing bands, or are a part of standing bands for someone like Bowie or Elton John or Marc Bolan or George Harrison, etc. to earn some money because the "stay at home and sleep in your own bed" plan wasn't covering them financially.

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They make union wages. I wouldn't say it is a lot of money. Studios go out on the road with artists who don't have standing bands, or are a part of standing bands for someone like Bowie or Elton John or Marc Bolan or George Harrison, etc. to earn some money because the "stay at home and sleep in your own bed" plan wasn't covering them financially.

 

We're talking two different generations here... Go watch the movie The Wrecking Crew... http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com/ pay attention to when they talk about the money they made.. and pissed away.

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They make union wages. I wouldn't say it is a lot of money. Studios go out on the road with artists who don't have standing bands, or are a part of standing bands for someone like Bowie or Elton John or Marc Bolan or George Harrison, etc. to earn some money because the "stay at home and sleep in your own bed" plan wasn't covering them financially.

We're talking two different generations here... Go watch the movie The Wrecking Crew... http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com/ pay attention to when they talk about the money they made.. and pissed away.

 

Or I could just call my FIL and listen to some of his stories..... he has been working as a studio since the 60's. Got a pretty solid idea of how "well" they do.
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They make union wages. I wouldn't say it is a lot of money. Studios go out on the road with artists who don't have standing bands, or are a part of standing bands for someone like Bowie or Elton John or Marc Bolan or George Harrison, etc. to earn some money because the "stay at home and sleep in your own bed" plan wasn't covering them financially.

We're talking two different generations here... Go watch the movie The Wrecking Crew... http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com/ pay attention to when they talk about the money they made.. and pissed away.

 

Or I could just call my FIL and listen to some of his stories..... he has been working as a studio since the 60's. Got a pretty solid idea of how "well" they do.

 

 

Or, I could just call my brother and hear him bitch... he is they guy that writes their checks and has been doing so since the late 80s.... B)

 

Again, a different perspective

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Right. Record label executive bitching about how the artists and musicians are ripping them off. YCMTSU

 

Right, studio musicians bitching about how their union screwed them on scaled wages while being paid to so something they like.... YCMTSU :P

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It is almost as if you don't have a clue about the industry. What a bunch of skiving rip off artist music industry execs are really like.

H. F. used to sign deals for roy early on in his career figuring hooking up with the likes of Elton John or David Bowie, well bound to strike it rich, right? It is that experience that taught him to just pocket scale wages because at least you got something for your efforts. He would then join the touring company to reap some rewards from the success of music he collaborated on as that work was under contract.

It is actually pretty sad how a lot of these folks are treated by the labels. Used, abused, discarded.

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